DES MOINES, Iowa — Democrat Abby Finkenauer's name won't be on the June 2022 primary ballot for the Iowa U.S. Senate race after a Polk County judge ruled her campaign didn't obtain enough signatures.
Finkenauer's appea before the Iowa Supreme Court l is scheduled for Wednesday at 1 p.m., according to a recent court filing from Monday afternoon.
According to the ruling, Finkenauer's campaign collected signatures and filed her nomination petition with the Iowa Secretary of State's Office on March 10. On March 25, plaintiffs Kim Schmett and Leanne Pellett filed objections to Finkenauer's petition.
The filing says both Schmett and Pellett were registered as Republicans at the time of filing their objections.
Their objection "cited several deficiencies in the nomination petition sheets, including improperly dated signatures, lines, a petition sheet with missing information in the header, signature lines with only partial address, and specific duplicate signatures," according to the judge's ruling.
According to Iowa Code, an individual who wants to run for political office needs to meet certain criteria before their name can be placed on the ballot. Those running for the U.S. Senate must obtain no less than 3,500 signatures. Of those signatures, the candidate must have at least 100 signatures from at least 19 counties in the district.
The plaintiffs objected to three specific signatures, one from Allamakee County and two from Cedar County. The screenshot below shows the signatures:
Schmett and Pellett argue that the date of the signature "is not something that should simply be assumed from other information on the sheet." They also argue the statute states "each signer shall add the signer's... date of signing."
According to the filing, that means "they assert that the date of signing cannot come from another voter's date of signing, nor can it come from the person who circulated the petition."
"The Court takes no joy in this conclusion," the filing says. "This Court should not be in the position to make a difference in an election, and Ms. Finkenauer and her supporters should have a chance to advance her candidacy. However, this Court’s job is to sit as a referee and apply the law without passion or prejudice. It is required to rule without consideration of the politics of the day. Here the Court has attempted to fulfill that role."
Finkenauer is adamant her campaign has met the requirements needed to be placed on the primary ballot.
"We have a judge that was appointed by Governor Kim Reynolds making new rules and ignoring precedent from 30 years ago," said Finkenauer. "To pick and choose who he wants to see on a ballot for United States Senate. That's a scary situation. I don't care who you are Democrat, Republican, Independent. This is scary for our democracy, for our state, and for our country."
The Iowa Secretary of State's Office tells Local 5 News a decision by the Supreme Court is needed on or before Monday, April 18th. It says this is in order to comply with the federal Uniformed and Oversease Citizens Absentee Voting Act.
"We have the law on our side here," said Finkenauer. "We had a judge who decided to make up what counts as kicking off signatures from a petition or from being able to qualify when a bipartisan panel the way that it is set up to work affirmed I should be on the ballot."
Read the filing below